Invest Atlanta is dangling a $15 million carrot for developers with the right vision to boost neighborhoods within the Westside Tax Allocation District — that is, Vine City, English Avenue, the western edge of downtown and a portion of Castleberry Hill. This morning, Invest Atlanta (the city's economic development arm) announced that it's launching a competitive application process, hoping to find the right builders of "catalytic real estate projects" in neighborhoods that could use a little economic stimulus. The gist: Developers will be eligible to receive up to 10 percent of total project costs; eligible projects must cost at least $5 million and must fall within the boundaries of the Westside TAD. "This is a call to developers with a vision to unlock the economic development potential of these neighborhoods," Ernestine Garey, Invest Atlanta executive vice president and COO, said in a press release. "We are looking for new, fresh ideas that will offer the downtown community and the surrounding neighborhoods a foundation for sustained economic growth that aligns with the dynamic development that is happening throughout Atlanta."
The deadline for submitting big ideas is Aug. 13. Of course, qualified applicants can't be trunk-slammers. In order to even sniff that $15 million carrot, they "must demonstrate experience with real estate projects that have resulted in other economic development or resulted in positive economic impact," Invest Atlanta specifies. Projects will be evaluated on overall quality and ability to generate positive impact, and each plan "must also evidence property control, financial feasibility and market acceptance."
So is Krog Street Market West in the cards? How about the intown waterpark we've all been pining for? Better yet, let's revisit plans for Historic Mims Park (as seen above, and in this rather amazing YouTube video). Two years ago, an Atlanta City Council Committee gave the thumbs up to the 16-acre greenspace that would transform mostly vacant land along Joseph E. Boone Boulevard and trumpet Atlanta's role in civil rights. Last we heard, fundraising efforts for the $55 million park were under way, with the first phase projected to open this summer. At least those were the plans in 2012.